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Basics of becoming a county administrator

The Hernando Commission is embarking on a search for a new county administrator. After some recent debate on the merits of using an outside headhunter to find a suitable candidate or simply turning over the keys to somebody already on staff and/or living in the community, the commission decided on the professional approach of retaining a consultant to help identify and hire their next executive.

While the hiring process is expected to last until March, commissioners apparently want lots of public input on the selection. So, as a public service, here is a checklist for would-be candidates:

• Develop thick skin.

No, thicker. Like a pachyderm.

• Meet the community pillars.

• Pay special attention to the guy trying to sell a bank building.

• Schedule meeting with commissioners.

• Reschedule meeting with Commissioner Jeff Stabins who most likely will be absent from first meeting.

• Measure level of disinterest among commissioners.

If unsure how to accomplish the previous task, read the memos commissioners sent to human resources describing the qualities they want in the next administrator. Only two commissioners bothered to forward such information.

• Meet newspaper editors. They apparently carry more weight than most people realize. Commissioner Jim Adkins suggested two serve on a seven-person citizens committee to help choose the next county administrator.

• Reschedule meeting with editors after the citizens committee gathers. Adkins withdrew his suggestion after other commissioners responded with guffaws and harrumphs to his idea of adding journalists to the selection process.

• Tell Adkins he helped create this mess by firing the last administrator. He should accept responsibility for fixing it without trying to dump the chore onto ink-stained civilians.

• Ensure background does not include the words "arson'' or "arrest.''

• Send thank-you note to predecessor for taking Hernando Beach channel dredge off the 17-year to-do list.

• Get teeth bleached.

• Make sure to flash pearly whites in a show of empathy toward county employees getting pink slips.

• Visit South Brooksville.

• Ensure renewed commitment toward this long-neglected community remains on track.

• Drive county highways.

• Scramble to find money to improve these roads in the future.

• Explain to commissioners that State Road 50 may get done faster, but the short-sighted tactic of suspending all impact fees coincides with the state absorbing $10 billion in lost transportation funding over the past seven years and projecting a $136 billion shortfall in paying for transportation needs by 2040.

• Explain to them again that this means lots of crowded and unsafe roads as people drive to and from the new apartment units and an expanded hospital that escaped impact fees.

• Bring lots of Windex to clean the 30-day window Commissioner Wayne Dukes wants to try to slant the hiring process to favor his preferred, internal candidate.

• Remove references to Canada and Minnesota from resume.

• Drive north toward Citrus County line.

• Stop just before getting there and look at the big holes in the ground that the commission envisions as a new city 6 miles from existing infrastructure.

• Try to persuade Stabins that a professional search firm is more accountable than, say, flipping a coin when it comes to a difficult decision.

• Make sure advanced degrees on resume are from legitimate institutions of higher learning.

• Take the public commentary from the podium with a grain of salt.

Like the illogical suggestion from an announced commission candidate to give the new administrator a 90-day trial run.

• Pay attention to the sage advice coming from the public podium.

Like the astute observation from a frequent meeting-attender who noted dryly that searching for an administrator exclusively from within Hernando's boarders means:

"Not only do you know them, they know you. And that might not be too good.''

• Plan on starting a job search before the 2014 election.

Basics of becoming a county administrator 12/22/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 22, 2011 6:58pm]

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